This trip through Latvia starts in Riga, touring the medieval Old Town, the Central Market, and the Latvian National Opera and Ballet House, and ending with a traditional dinner with folklore dancing. You'll then explore the country's rural landscapes with visits to waterfalls and caves in the town of Kuldīga, as well as the preserved Bauska Castle and the palaces of Rundāle and Jelgava. End your trip in Jūrmala, a seaside resort where you'll ride bikes along the beach and swim in the sea.

Highlights

  • Explore the historic Old Town of Riga with a walking tour
  • Feel like royalty at Bauska Castle and the palaces of Rundāle and Jelgava
  • Enjoy a tour of the Latvian National Opera and Ballet House
  • Walk the beaches and explore the vibrant coastal town of Jūrmala by bike
  • Discover waterfalls and caves near the small town of Kuldīga

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Riga - Explore the Old Town Riga
Day 2 Explore Riga Central Market and enjoy a tour of the Opera House Riga
Day 3 Discover Europe's widest waterfall and explore the caves of Kuldīga Kuldiga
Day 4 Explore the 15th-century Bauska Castle - Transfer to Jūrmala Jurmala
Day 5 Cycle along the beach and go swimming in Jūrmala - Depart Riga  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Riga - Explore the Old Town

The Famous House of the Black Heads
The Famous House of the Black Heads

Welcome to Latvia!

Upon arriving at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel and settle in before exploring the capital city of Riga. The Latvian capital is the Baltic Region's largest city and a great place to immerse yourself in the rich history of Latvia. Founded more than 800 years ago, Riga's historic district is home to many medieval buildings, Art Nouveau dwelling houses, Gothic churches, and historic wooden structures, creating an interesting mix of architectural styles. 

A private guide will lead you through the city, starting in the downtown quarter known as the "quiet center". Albert Street is a highlight of the area, lined with Art Nouveau architecture and plenty of opportunities for photos. Along the way, you'll visit the Art Nouveau Museum to learn more about how this architectural style helped shape the city's aesthetic.

The evening is yours to roam the city at your leisure. If you'd like to enjoy a Latvian-style dinner, your hosts can reserve a table for you at the popular Restaurant Salve. Here you can taste a local liqueur called Riga Black Balsam, plus regional favorites such as homemade sausages and stewed cabbage. Another dinner option is the medieval-themed Restaurant Rozegrals, where they specialize in a soup made with chopped rye seeds, pearled barley, and free-range piglet.

At night, you can't miss the House of the Blackheads, one of the city's most famous sites. Although it's also popular during the day, at night the Gothic-style buildings truly shine.

Day 2: Explore Riga Central Market and enjoy a tour of the Opera House

Latvian National Opera and Ballet House
Latvian National Opera and Ballet House

In the morning, you'll continue exploring the capital of Latvia, starting with a tour of the Riga Central Market where you can try local delicacies, such as smoked meats, pickled vegetables, Latvian bread, seasonal treats, and more. The market opened in 1930 in a building connecting five former Zeppelin airship hangars. Today, it is one of the largest covered markets in Europe. 

In the afternoon, you'll tour the Latvian National Opera and Ballet House, a unique architectural masterpiece of the 19th century. Your guide will lead you through the interior of the building while discussing the history of the opera. The tour finishes with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine.

In the evening, you can enjoy an optional Latvian dinner at the leisure center LIDO. The experience will consist of a Latvian folklore show where you can dress up and take photos in traditional folk costumes. While tasting typical Latvian dishes, you'll also sample local beer and learn traditional beer songs.

Day 3: Discover Europe's widest waterfall and explore the caves of Kuldīga

The Bridge over Venta River with Europe's Widest Waterfall
The Bridge over Venta River with Europe's Widest Waterfall

This morning, you'll leave the Latvian capital behind and make your way to the 14th-century town of Kuldīga. Upon arrival, settle into your accommodation and wander around the historic streets. One of the town's highlights is its riverside, where you'll see Europe's widest waterfall at 800 feet (249 m) across the Venta River.

Afterward, cool down with a visit to the sandstone caves of Riezupe, where a 20-minute tour will take you through the caverns by candlelight. Please note that the caves maintain a 46-degree Fahrenheit (8-degree Celsius) temperature, so be sure to bring extra layers. Next, you'll visit the village of Sabile, which is home to the world's most northern open-air vineyard. Although the town's history dates back to the 1200s, winemaking didn't begin in Sabile until the 16th century. 

To end your afternoon, on the way back to Kuldīga you'll stop at Pedvale, an open-air art museum that offers over 150 works of art for its visitors to peruse.

In the evening, stroll through Kuldīga's historic center and grab dinner at one of the many bistros lining its main pedestrian street, Liepājas.

Day 4: Explore the 15th-century Bauska Castle - Transfer to Jūrmala

Bauska Castle, Latvia
Bauska Castle, Latvia

Today's adventure takes you on a full-day tour to some of Latvia's most fascinating castles and palaces, stopping first at the medieval Bauska Castle, which was built as a 15th-century. Later, it became the royal residence for the Dukes of Courland in the late 16th century. Bauska is an excellent example of the defensive stone castles erected during the Middle Ages to protect Latvia's territory from attacks by Christian crusaders. You'll visit the cannons and other defenses used by medieval Latvians, and learn about the social customs and fashion sense of the royal court.

Next, you'll explore the two 18th-century palaces, both built for the same family, the Dukes of Courland and Semigallia. They were designed by Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also created Russia's ornate Winter Palace and Tsarskoye Selo Palace for the tsars.

The first is Rundāle Palace, which is like a time capsule of 18th-century royal Latvian life, with preserved and restored Baroque architecture and Rococo art. Don't miss a stroll through the massive French-style gardens outside the palace. Next is the Jelgava Palace, which was burned down during the War of Independence in 1919 and heavily shelled during World War II. The Baroque-style estate was reconstructed in 1961 and is currently home to the Latvian University of Agriculture. Make sure to visit the crypt for members of the royal family who once lived here, which houses their ornate sarcophagi.

Your final stop of the day is the seaside resort city of Jūrmala. Set on the Baltic Sea, Jūrmala's long and sandy beach is connected by a local train network. Settle into your accommodation, then stroll along the beach at sunset. You'll find plenty of restaurants in the city's main square, as well as a few options along the shore.

Day 5: Cycle along the beach and go swimming in Jūrmala - Depart Riga

Beaches of Jūrmala
Beaches of Jūrmala

Enjoy a leisurely morning before meeting your guide for a bike tour of Jūrmala and its shoreline. In the mid-19th century, holidaymakers began escaping the cities to relax in Jūrmala, causing the area to develop as a resort and earning the nickname "Northern Riviera”.

You'll cycle through the town and along pine-covered dunes, passing expressive wooden architecture, modern villas, and endless sandy beaches. You'll stop for lunch at one of the restaurants on the shore, then enjoy a swim in the sea.

In the afternoon, you'll return to Riga. You can either continue exploring Latvia on your own or transfer to the airport to catch your flight.